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FIFA and FIFPRO join forces to combat social media hate speech – FIFA.com

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FIFA has published an independent report to coincide with the United Nations International Day for Countering Hate Speech on Saturday 18 June, highlighting the increasing degree of abuse directed at footballers across social media platforms during international tournaments.

With FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ beginning in exactly five months’ time, FIFA will work with FIFPRO – the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers – to coordinate and implement a plan on how to protect participating teams, players, officials, and supporters from abuse on social media during its international tournaments.

The newly-released report, which used artificial intelligence to track over 400,000 posts on social media platforms during the semi-finals and finals stage of two international competitions (UEFA EURO 2020 and African Cup of Nations 2021), has identified that over 50% of players received some form of discriminatory abuse, with much of that abuse coming from the players’ home nation. Homophobic (40%) and racist (38%) comments provided the majority of the abuse, much of which remains published to the accounts in which it was originally directed.

In response, FIFA and FIFPRO will launch a dedicated in-tournament moderation service across men’s and women’s football that will scan recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers. Although the offending message remains visible to the person who originally made the comment, its visibility and reach will be significantly reduced.

The report also highlights that 90% of accounts flagged by the study as having published these abusive comments have a high probability of identification, and as hidden comments will remain privately visible to FIFA and FIFPRO – it also means that such account activity could be escalated to the relevant social platform(s) and law enforcement authorities so further action could be taken.

“Our duty is to protect football, and that starts with the players who bring so much joy and happiness to all of us by their exploits on the field of play,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Unfortunately, there is a trend developing where a percentage of posts on social media channels directed towards players, coaches, match officials and the teams themselves is not acceptable, and this form of discrimination – like any form of discrimination – has no place in football.”

The FIFA President added: “With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 are on the horizon, FIFA and FIFPRO recognise it is important to make a stand and to include what is monitored on social media with what is already being monitored in the stadiums. We want our actions to speak louder than our words and that is why we are taking concrete measures to tackle the problem directly.

“This detection is not only there to protect football and to avoid the damaging effects that these posts can cause, but also to educate current and future generations who engage with our sport on social media as well as on the field of play. We expect that, by standing together on this problem, social media platforms will do the same and will actively support us in being part of the solution.”

“This collaboration recognises football’s responsibility to protect the players and other affected groups against the abuse they increasingly face in and around their workplace. This type of abuse has a profound impact on their personalities, their families, performance as well as on their overall well-being and mental health,” said FIFPRO President David Aganzo.

The FIFPRO President added: “Online abuse is a societal issue and as an industry we cannot accept that this new form of abuse and discrimination affects so many people including our players. Several player unions have carried out very good work on this topic which, connected to our recent report launched in conjunction with other player unions, gives us many insights when approaching this matter going forward. Research such as these reports is critical, but it must lead to action to provide prevention and remedy. We are glad that this cooperation with FIFA is a constructive step in this direction.”

Through this partnership, FIFA and FIFPRO will also develop educational support – including best practice advice for managing social media accounts – and mental health advice for all participating players at FIFA tournaments during 2022 and 2023 and will implement the moderation service while these competitions are taking place.

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S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition – SaltWire Halifax powered by The Chronicle Herald

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By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Angolan ex-leader dos Santos in intensive care: Portuguese media – Al Jazeera English

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Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019. He was president of Angola between 1979 and 2017.

Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, is in intensive care at a clinic in Barcelona, Portuguese news agency Lusa has reported, citing a source close to him.

Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019, but his health deteriorated and he was admitted to an intensive care unit, Lusa reported, without saying when it happened.

After a 38-year stint in office that made him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, dos Santos stepped down in 2017. His rule was marked by a brutal civil war lasting nearly three decades against the United States-backed UNITA rebels – which he won in 2002 – and a subsequent oil-fuelled boom that enriched elites but did little to alleviate widespread poverty.

He was replaced by Joao Lourenco, who despite being from dos Santos’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), swiftly moved to investigate the allegations of multibillion-dollar corruption during the latter’s stint, targeting the former leader’s children.

The assets of his daughter Isabel dos Santos, often feted as Africa’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $3.5bn as of 2013, have also been frozen by the Angolan government.

Last year, the elder dos Santos returned home for the first time since he went into exile in Barcelona in April 2019.

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Media Release – June 24, 2022 – Guelph Police – guelphpolice.ca

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Males arrested, drugs and stolen property seized

A large quantity of suspected stolen property and drugs were seized following the arrests Thursday of three Guelph males.

The males were arrested as a result of an ongoing investigation by members of the Guelph Police Service Break Enter Auto Theft (BEAT) Unit. Two of the males were arrested following a vehicle stop, during which police seized quantities of crack cocaine, methamphetamines and hydromorphone, as well as drug packaging and digital scales. Also located in the vehicle was suspected stolen property including power tools and gym equipment and break-in tools including pry bars.

A search of the males’ Waterloo Avenue residence revealed more suspected stolen property including high-end bicycles and several toolboxes or bags full of tools.

Three Guelph males — aged 33, 35 and 55 – face charges including possession for the purpose of trafficking, break and enter, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possessing break and enter tools and possessing identity documents. All three were held for bail hearings Friday.

recovered stolen property

Cash stolen during business break-in

The Guelph Police Service is investigating after cash was stolen from the office of a local business early Friday.

Approximately 3:20 a.m. police were called to a business on Woolwich Street near Speedvale Avenue West. The owner was reporting a break-in two hours earlier.

Video surveillance showed a male arriving at the business approximately 1:15 a.m. and using a tool to pry open a door. He attended an office where he pried open a second door and emptied the safe. He was described as wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, blue jeans, white and grey shoes, black gloves and a black backpack.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Constable Mallory Woeller at 519-824-1212, ext. 7462, email her at mwoeller@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Toronto-area males arrested on drug charges

Three Toronto-area males, including one youth, were arrested on drug charges Thursday in Guelph.

Approximately 2:15 p.m., a Guelph Police Service officer observed a silver BMW cutting off other vehicles in the area of Wellington Street West and Wyndham Street South. A traffic stop was conducted and officers could detect a strong smell of cannabis coming from within the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle uncovered an open package of cannabis in the glovebox and a grinder contaminated with cannabis residue in the cupholder, as well as 85 Percocet tablets in the console and more than $1,700 cash inside a lunch bag.

A 22-year-old Toronto male, a 22-year-old Mississauga male and a 17-year-old Mississauga male are all charged with possessing controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking. They were all released with August court dates. The BMW, which had been rented through a car-sharing app, was towed by police.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 256

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